The focus, for good reason, is on the upcoming 2014 season. We know that the going will likely be difficult for the Astros on the field in the first few months of the year, but also that the clouds are beginning to part.
Not only are young players like Robbie Grossman and Marc Krauss having successful springs, but we are also seeing flashes of what top prospects George Springer, Jonathan Singleton, and Carlos Correa can do. And then we have Mark Appel who looks to be on track to starting his second professional season on time, or at least close to it.
Appel figures to be a dominant force at the top of Houston’s rotation for the next 10-15 years. And in June, he figures to be joined by a left-handed partner in crime. The Astros have the first overall pick once again in 2014, and Carlos Rodon looks to be the choice.
The North Carolina State hurler is rumored to be Jeff Luhnow’s selection in June when the Astros are on the clock. Luhnow and the Astros have been scouting Rodon for some time now, and the General Manager was in attendance for his start Friday night.
As per his usual mode of operation, we don’t have any public comments from Luhnow about Rodon, but we do know that there is clear interest. Why else would Luhnow personally attend his start?
And there is good reason as to why Rodon is likely to be Houston’s next number one pick. In Friday’s start against Florida State, Rodon struck out 12 batters in 6.2 innings giving up five hits and two runs in a losing effort. This drops Rodon’s record to 2-3 on the season, but that doesn’t matter. It is clear Rodon has top of the rotation stuff, and he would form an excellent one-two punch with Appel.
So far this season, Rodon has a 2.45 ERA in his five starts with one complete game among his 36.2 innings pitched. Rodon has allowed 27 hits and 11 walks while striking out 42 batters.